As I've mentioned before, weeds are everywhere! They're taking over every yard in sight, and while Dead Nettle may be the most common weed in my area right now, there is another weed coming up that is more hated than any other weed I know. We call them Dandelions. Dandelions (Taraxacum officinale) are the most common weeds in the northern hemisphere, and they are often killed off for their invasive and stubborn nature. But, with a little more knowledge, you might just start harvesting them instead. That's right! Those little yellow weeds are incredibly good for you! As far as I can tell, the first mention of using the Dandelions as a medicinal herb is from the works of the Arabian physicians of the tenth and eleventh centuries. They called it a wild Endive and named it Taraxcacon (their common name, Dandelions, comes from the French dent-de-lion, meaning “lion’s tooth”- possibly because it's long, white root resembled a tooth). Since then, cultures all over the world have used Dandelions as both a medicinal and culinary herb, and we should do the same! Dandelions are a rich source of vitamin K (535%), Potassium (218 milligrams), and vitamin A (111%). It also contains generous amounts calories, sodium, carbohydrates, fiber, vitamin C, vitamin B6, calcium, iron, and magnesium. This great combination of nutrients mean that Dandelions can be used for: A tea of the Dandelion can be made with the flowers, the leaves, or both. Just be absolutely sure that you harvest them in an area that hasn't been sprayed. To make Dandelion tea: take a handful of the yellow flowers and/or the leaves, rinse them and add them to a saucepan. Add water and boil for 5-8 minutes. Strain, add honey, and enjoy!
But, like every herb, Dandelions can be used in a variety of other ways. They are excellent additions to: They can also be juiced, sauteed, made into wine, put on a pizza, and used in pretty much any way you can think to use them. For some great Dandelion recipes, check out The Prairie Homestead and Food Storage and Survival. Now that you know about the nutritional benefit of our friendly little weed, maybe you'll think twice before grabbing the nearest bottle of RoundUp. Besides, even if you don't harvest and eat them right away, you can always make wishes on them once they mature! To learn more about this hardy plant, visit Botanical, Dandelion Tea, Wellness Mama, Dr. Axe, and Healthline.